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The following is a short newspaper article and letter regarding Rowland Clemens' service during World War II


Decatur Herald, June 6, 1994

Rowland Clemens, 74, Decatur

"What I remember most is the massiveness of the invasion; it was completely beyond belief. As we left England the sea was just solid ships as far as you could see. And there were constant flights of aircraft going over . . .

"There were still times, though, when I doubted it would work. We took some heavy casualties on some of the beaches."

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Rowland Clemens was an army sergeant serving on a motor tug launch that maneuvered large floating harbors called "mulberrys" into position. These harbors became the invasion's main artery, feeding men and supplies onto the shores of France.


The following is a letter from R.A. Clemens to Ann Arnold which accompanied the above article

7 June 1994

Dear Ann

Enclosed is newspaper article of interest. Arromanches (Normandy) is where our outfit made its landing on D+2 (3rd day of the invasion). Arromanches was at the western end of Gold Beach was a British Beach. My detachment was assigned to a British engineer regiment whose mission was to assemble Mulberry B. There was another Mulberry "A" at Omaha however it blew away in the big storm of 18-19 July 1944. Ours survived and operated into 1945. Our unit left in Nov. '44 transferred to Rouen France.

Those structures you see off shore were large concrete structures call "Phoenix". These structures were the size of 5 story buildings and were built to float like a ship. They were towed across the channel and sunk off shore to form the outer breakwater of our Mulberry harbor. They are actually further off shore than they appear. Our particular job was to assemble the floating bridging that ran out from the shore to piers where ships would unload regardless of tide. All that material has apparently since been dismantled.

Love,
Dad


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